LEON I. WALKER
Managing Broker, DL3 Realty Advisors
Inducted September 23, 2022
“REVITALIZE COMMUNITIES. REALIZE RETURNS.”
Walker has accelerated the transformation of Chicago’s historically disinvested communities through private capital investment. After a successful corporate career at JLL, Leon has spent the past 20 years executing cutting-edge community development projects that go beyond bricks and mortar. Leon has structured more than $100 million in New Markets Tax Credits transactions to develop national full-service grocery stores in food deserts, and federally qualified health centers in underserved areas. He has also developed corporate call centers creating thousands of jobs on Chicago’s south side.
“For Leon, commercial real estate development is about more than just creating buildings, it’s also about supporting traditionally disinvested communities to help positively impact our communities and residents,” 2022 Chicago Association of REALTORS® President Antje Gehrken, A.R.E. Partners, said. “We are proud to welcome him into our Hall of Fame this year.”
Leon’s Venture Development™ model delivers positive social outcomes as well as strong financial returns, and he is leading a new wave of impact investing in Chicago’s neighborhoods with his firm’s large-scale transit oriented residential projects that blend market and affordable housing with quality retail. His tireless commitment to developments that generate a positive ripple effect and encourage follow-on capital investment has been recognized with numerous awards, including ULI’s Community Impact Vision Award and three LISC awards for Chicago’s Most Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Development. His work has generated over 3,000 new jobs on Chicago’s south side over the past five years, and he has a goal of creating over 10,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.
He founded the DL3 Realty Impact Scholarship at the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University and co-founded the Chicago Emerging Minority Developer Initiative (CEMDI) to identify diverse voices in the industry and to build the capacity of community-focused developers to lead commercial real estate projects citywide.
“Leon’s love for Chicago shines through in all of his projects, and he continues to be an inspiration for other current or aspiring minority developers,” 2022 Chicago Association of REALTORS® Foundation Chair Rachel Scheid, Coldwell Banker Realty, said.
Walker’s successful career makes him deserving of a spot in the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Foundation Hall of Fame. Established in 1986, this honor celebrates those professionals with truly outstanding contributions to the real estate industry. Induction is extended to those individuals whose leadership and accomplishments soar above and beyond the ordinary. Character, accomplishment, reputation and contribution to the business, culture and environment are all necessary attributes for the Hall of Fame.